Ayaan Deshpande is all of nine years old and believe it or not, he has performed in a series of concerts in prestigious venues in Vienna. At such a young age, the child prodigy has given concerts before he is even a teenager. A skilled concert pianist and composer, Ayaan has drawn widespread acclaim all over the world since his first public performance in November 2021 alongside the SOI.
His talent is baffling and his playing on the piano is nothing short of genius, not only for his teachers and mentors, but anyone who sees him swiftly shifting a melody on the ivory keys.
September 23 evening will see the little maestro perform at the Mumbai Piano Day at the Tata Theatre, NCPA. The shy kid spoke to The Free Press Journal after a little prodding from parents.
I feel really happy. I had heard about Mumbai Piano Day lots of times before.
Actually my teacher told me to keep that a surprise (smiles). I will play Classical and also something different.
So, when I met Mr. Marat (Marat Bisengaliev, music director and co-founder of the SOI) for the first time, I played for him. After that, he suggested me to play the 2nd movement of Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 with the orchestra in a concert on 14th November, which was in just 12 days. Actually we had already purchased tickets for this concert, so I could not believe it. I listened to that piece for the first time while going home. I liked it very much, so I was excited to learn it. When I was rehearsing with the orchestra, it felt very special. On the concert day, I was feeling a little nervous, but my teacher Miss Aida Bisengalieva and Mr. Marat told me to just relax. It was good. When I heard the applause and looked up at the audience, I felt shy and wanted to quickly go backstage. It was a great experience.
It was very nice, I can't express it. Vienna is very special for Western Classical music, Mozart, Beethoven used to live there. I performed at Ehrbar hall and Mozarthaus.
My teacher Miss Aida told me about the Golden Key music festival in Vienna. We sent two audition videos for piano performance and piano composition. I got selected and performed there in 4 concerts during the festival. I performed compositions by Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy and Prokofiev, and one of my own compositions. During the festival we also visited some important places, like Mozart's birthplace - Salzburg, Beethovenhaus in Baden, Esterhazy Palace etc. My friend Uneysah (a student of Miss Aida from Mumbai) also participated in the festival. There were participants from all over the world and I made some new friends.
I started learning on an electronic keyboard during the lockdown 3 years ago. That time my school was shut. In the beginning I started with YouTube piano tutorials, finger exercises and then an iPad app, Synthesia. In May 2021, I joined the SOI Music Academy at NCPA. But this was still during the lockdown, so my teacher Miss Aida used to take online classes for the first few months.
At first, I used to watch YouTube videos and learn the pieces. Sometimes I used to play by ear or using the Synthesia app. Later when I started learning with Miss Aida, she taught me to sight-read music sheets and to use correct fingerings and to play the different scales. She gave different types of pieces like etudes, polyphonic pieces, Sonatas, Waltzes, Nocturnes. She gave me challenging pieces to learn, but not too difficult. So slowly I started learning more complex pieces.
When I began learning on a 61-key keyboard. I enjoyed searching for different classical piano pieces on YouTube and used to listen and learn for a lot of time. My parents felt that I was learning fast, so then they got a digital piano with 88 keys. Then I could play pieces like Fur Elise, Turkish March, which I could not (play) on a smaller keyboard. Soon they felt that I should learn from a proper piano teacher.
No, in the beginning I was just learning on my own. But when I was small, I used to learn Hindustani classical music from my friend’s father, for a few months with some of my friends.
I don’t remember actually, but when I was 2 years old we moved to Mumbai. My father was doing his Post Doc in Mathematics in Tokyo. He joined the TIFR School of Maths faculty in December 2015, so we moved to Mumbai. My mother is a Software engineer working for a Healthcare Company.
When I began learning, I had online school for two hours every day. So I used to have a lot of time for piano. After school reopened my parents decided to switch to homeschooling.
Haha, I don’t know. Mozart started to play and compose when he was much younger.
My favourite composers are Chopin and Debussy. But I also like Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and many others. I like Chopin’s music because it is very delicate and deep. Debussy’s music feels very magical.
Yes, I love to compose. I first composed a small piece as homework given by my teacher. I loved doing it, so when I get ideas I try to develop them into a composition. I write the music scores using Musescore software. I have composed a Sonata, Waltz, Nocturne, a piano and strings quintet and some other pieces. My parents have put all my compositions on my YouTube channel.